17o A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
deprived of every semblance of life. Whilst the body remained inert, the soul retained its hold by a magnetic thread, visible to the clairvoyant initiator, so that the vital functions were preserved despite the complete suspension of animation. The whole purpose and purport of the initiation was to teach the candidate that "There is no death!" And he was taught this lesson in the clearest and most practical way possible, i.e. by being made to experience within himself the actual process of dying and mysteriously entering into another world of being. So deep was his trance that he was placed inside a painted and inscribed mummy-case whose lid was closed and sealed. To all intents and purposes, he had actually been murdered!
But when the allotted time of enhancement had elapsed, the case was opened and he was re-awakened by appropriate methods. Thus the symbolic scattered pieces of Osiris's body were put together again and he was brought back to life. This fabled resurrection of Osiris was simply the real resurrection of the Osirian candidate!
The chapel in which I stood had been the scene of many such "murders" and "resurrections." Once it had been appropriately furnished with a couch and all the appurtenances for initiation. When the candidate had passed through the trance-state and was ready for re-awakening he was carried to a point where the first rays of the rising sun would fall full upon his sleeping face.
It was a fact that in the earlier days many of the Egyptian priests of the superior ranks, and all of the High Priests, were well versed in the mysteries of hypnotism and mesmerism, and could cause those upon whom they experimented to fall into cataleptic conditions so profound that the rigor mortis of death seemed to ensue. The High Priests could do even more than this, more than modern hypnotists; for they knew how to keep the candidate's wind awake even when his body was entranced and to provide him with a series of supernormal experiences which he did not fail to remember on his return to normal consciousness.
In this manner they were able to impress upon him an understanding of the nature of man's soul, and, by temporarily forcing his own soul out of his body, a perception of the existence of another world of being; the so-called spirit world, for which the symbolism of his painted mummy-coffin provided fit analogy. Thus the Egyptians graved on the lids or sarcophagi, or painted on the cases of mummies* or vignetted in the texts